“I miss him.”
* * *
The bowl shatters across the wall and sends porcelain shards and noodles in a cascade against the tile. Each piece, as it flies away and begins falling to the floor disintegrates into nothingness as it gets further from Jeanette, as if it is falling away into pixels. She doesn’t see that though, or notice it. It’s not a part of the memory; it’s part of what’s left of it.
“How could you fuck her? How could you do that to me?”
He’s looking at her from across the counter, his eyes full of a rage as vivid as the one she feels. She knows there will be hell to pay for the broken bowl but the time for that is later. She also knows that if she doesn’t express her anger somehow now there will be much more than broken bowls tomorrow.
“It just happened. You were gone and–”
Her hands fly from the counter where she’d rested them and she pulls her eyes away from him to look out the window behind her. There is no landscape outside but her eyes don’t tell her that, only that this is what she sees. A featureless landscape of a color that is less than white and more than nothing.
“I was gone for a week! While I was telling my mother how much I cared about you, you were fucking her! You were inside her and I was gushing over how in love we are. How is that okay?”
“Look, I know. It’s not okay but you have to understand.”
She looks at him then and she sees that he’s crying. She sees that his knuckles are white against the pale brown counter as he clutches the edge and she’s no longer sure who carries more rage or desperation.
She reaches across the counter to touch his fingers.
* * *
His hand is like a white hot iron across her face and as her head cocks sideways she can feel the imprint of each fingertip across her cheek and know that there will be an outline there tomorrow. The skin stings and burns where his hand has left her face but the pain of the second slap is far worse.
The words are more squeak than a voice as they come out but they’re drowned out by the smack of his palm on her cheek again. She can feel him pulsing inside her with each contact and each searing spasm means she can feel herself contract around him.
“That’s too hard. Please. . .”
She presses her knees to his sides as hard as she can as she rides him and starts to squirm from the pain. The tear of her bottom lip leaves a streak of red across his palm and she sees the blood as his hands reach to her hips and pull her down harder on him, lifting her and bouncing her body off of him.
And then she’s on her back and he’s holding her down. His giant hand is wrapped around her wrists above her head and his body is on top of her, pushing against her. His other hand wraps around her neck and starts to squeeze as he pounds into her, pushing her head against the wall as she chokes under his fingers.
* * *
Each drop of blood that falls from his fingers seems to be accompanied by a tear falling from his eyes but not a single drop of fluid touches the ground, instead seeming to disappear. Each splotch, red or clear, never forms on her dress or on the floor but Jeanette neither notices it or sees it. That’s not part of the memory. It’s part of what is left of it.
“Baby, I’m so sorry. I’m sorry I made you so angry.”
“My hand. . .”
His hand is a mangled mess and around them on the floor she can see the shards of the mirror. Small slivers are stuck in his knuckles and she turns his hand over in her own, examining it. The wounds are shallow and it doesn’t seem broken.
“I’m so sorry baby, I didn’t mean to hurt you. I didn’t mean to do it. . .”
She wraps her arms around him and gently pulls his injured hand behind her as she does. His body is wider than her own but she manages to surround him and his head falls against her shoulder and begins to weep.
Each of his tears soak into the sleeve of her top accompanied by her voice.
“It’s okay. It’s all going to be okay.
* * *
“How can you say that? After he hurt you so much.”
“But that’s is. When he hurt me was the only time I felt real.”
. . . Terminate Simulation 14 . . .